8 Back to School Insurance Tips

College is expensive enough as it is; can you imagine finding out too late that an accident or theft isn’t covered under your current insurance policies? In order to prevent this from happening, there’s one vital “to-do” to add to your list (other than writing that dreaded tuition check) as you prepare to send your child/children off to school this fall: a review of your insurance coverage. Although policy language varies from one state to the next and there are never “one-size-fits-all” situations, use the following general guide to understand how your child’s move back to school may affect your insurance coverage: Homeowners Insurance Considerations Personal property coverage: Most homeowners policies provide 10 percent of personal property coverage for property owned by an insured that is at a residence other than the insured’s.  For instance, if you have $100,000 worth of personal property coverage, your homeowners insurance policy will typically provide up to $10,000 worth of coverage for your student’s property if he/she is living in a dormitory – provided that the damage is caused by a covered peril and the student meets the definition of an insured. Certain items like jewelry or expensive electronics may require special coverage, or a “rider.” Liability coverage: Homeowners insurance policies typically exclude damage to property rented to an insured, so in most cases, damage to a dorm room or apartment would not be covered. Renters insurance: If your student rents an off-campus home, your policy may not provide coverage for his/her property, so don’t forget about renters insurance. It’s important to understand that landlords’ policies generally only cover the structure, not the...

‘Tis the Season to Protect Your New Gifts

After unwrapping your gifts on Christmas morning, insurance was probably the last thing on your mind. But whether you received a new television or an expensive piece of jewelry, it’s important to ensure that you have coverage for your new valuables. Although you likely already have a homeowners or a renters insurance policy to protect your home and possessions, it’s crucial to understand that these policies have limits for the amount of personal property you own. For example, a $300,000 home might have a $150,000 limit for personal possessions. While this number may seem high, the value of all of your furniture, electronics, tableware, clothing and jewelry adds up quickly, and new gifts every year bring the total worth of your possessions even higher. Below are several important considerations regarding your home insurance and how new valuable possessions can impact it. Actual Cash Value vs. Replacement Cost As noted above, your homeowners insurance policy will have a coverage limit for your personal possessions, but depending on the policy, this coverage could be for the items’ actual cash value instead of replacement cost. Whereas actual cash value takes into consideration depreciation, replacement cost coverage is based on the amount it costs to purchase a new item. For instance, if a piano you purchased several years ago sustains damage, a policy with actual cash value coverage will reimburse the actual cash value of the piano, or the original cost minus depreciation, instead of the value of a new piano. According to Trusted Choice, replacement cost coverage costs about 10 percent more than actual cash value coverage. The difference between these two...

3 Reasons to Protect Your Possessions with a Renters Insurance Policy

If you live in a rented home, whether it be an apartment, condominium, or rented house, it’s important to ensure that you have coverage for your personal possessions. Although 54 percent of renters said that without renters insurance, it would take them at least three years to replace all of their belongings in the event of a loss, only 45 percent of renters in our country have actually secured this type of coverage, according to the Insurance Journal. Below are three of the many reasons to protect your rented home and valuable possessions with a renters insurance policy. 1. Your landlord’s insurance will not cover your belongings. Many renters believe that in the event of a claim, their landlord’s homeowners insurance will provide coverage for their personal property, but this is typically not the case. In the event of fire, vandalism, theft, smoke or water damage, your landlord’s insurance will normally help cover the cost of structural damage to your rented home, not any damage to your personal belongings. 2. The average renter owns $30,000 worth of personal property, according to the Insurance Journal. You may not think your belongings are worth this much, but from furniture and clothing to tableware and expensive electronics, the value of your possessions adds up quickly, so it’s important to have coverage. To protect this amount of property, the Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of America reports that on average, it will only cost you about $12 per month. Although coverage and rates vary from one insurance company to another, the cost of a renters insurance policy is small compared to the value...